Helping Make A Difference, One Meal At A Time
Spoons, an EGBOK café, has been a long time in the making. When EGBOK first began in 2009, we provided supplemental classes, housing, job and financial support to young disadvantaged Cambodians studying at other hospitality schools in Siem Reap. From then we have grown into our own Training and Internship Program formally recognized by the Cambodian Government. We provide holistic training and life skills development to young adults from Cambodia’s most underserved communities, with over 200 alumni now employed in top hospitality jobs across Siem Reap and beyond. The idea of enhancing our program with an on-site training café was there from the start, but it was not until recently that we were able to make it a reality.
In 2016, Spoons Café opened its bamboo gates, marking the next chapter for EGBOK. By providing additional learning space, the café allows EGBOK to expand our program’s culinary curriculum, offer invaluable hands-on service training for the students, and increase the number of students we can admit each year. The café profits are channeled directly back in support of EGBOK, helping us achieve greater financial stability and sustainability. The café also serves as a multipurpose space for the community, where we can welcome guests and treat them to authentic Cambodian cuisine and hospitality, and showcase the sustainability initiatives that define the Spoons experience—and the greater local Siem Reap community as a whole.
- Provide guests with a Cambodian culinary experience that is authentic and unique
- Enhance practical training for EGBOK students in Food & Beverage and Culinary skills
- Generate revenue in support of EGBOK to help us achieve long-term financial sustainability
- Serve as a community gathering space to promote local arts and culture and host hospitality trainings
Sustainability throughout Collaboration
WHAT MAKES US SUSTAINABLE?
Our Bamboo Building
Spoons has taken bamboo architecture to a new level in Siem Reap, serving as model for environmentally conscious and sustainable construction. Cambodia has the 3rd highest rate of deforestation in the world. Corporate timber production and illegal logging are cutting away at some of Asia’s oldest and most diverse forests—with the rate of forest loss estimated at 804 square miles a year! We find this completely unacceptable. Not only does building with bamboo alleviate the demand for timber but it helps raise awareness of this serious environmental issue. Plus bamboo grows in areas not fit for food crops, so it does not compete with food production, and is more energy efficient than other materials such as steel or plastic. Here in Cambodia we’ve partnered with Bambusa Global Ventures, pioneers in sustainably harvested bamboo, whoprovide a sustainable source of livelihood for the indigenous communities living around the forest areas in Mondulkiri province. We hope Spoons will show the wider community how sustainable—and beautiful—bamboo construction can be! We were lucky to partner with some great mind minds leading the industry in sustainable bamboo harvesting and construction. Thanks to our friends at Lumley & Koller for the initial designs, Stuart Cochlin and team for the construction support, Vinc Math for the invaluable technical guidance, Bambusa Global Ventures for the raw materials, and ES-PRO Construction for taking on the challenge of constructing with bamboo.
Our Service Model
Spoons is an EGBOK café, meaning all of our proceeds go towards supporting the costs for running EGBOK—helping draw us closer to becoming a financially stable organization whose work can continue for the long run. Spoons is an extension of the EGBOK classroom, where students gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in their future hospitality careers. A dining experience at Spoons is a small way to help students practice what they are learning, making a big step to lift themselves and their families out of the cycle of poverty. Spoons is also home to a knowledgeable team of chefs and hospitality professionals, who provide expert training and experience to our students and serve as invaluable role models for the successes they can achieve. We are proud to say Spoons—and EGBOK—are almost entirely Cambodian-run.
Read more about us here!
Our Food & Drinks
Have you heard much about Cambodian food? Chances are likely not much. Cambodia’s cuisine often gets outshone by neighboring Vietnam and Thailand. But there is so much to offer, and here at Spoons we strive to provide delicious, authentic Cambodian food, so you can try an array of the country’s finest dishes—from street food favorites to classic homestyle dishes. Our Head Chef Mengly is an initiator of Asian Street Food – a festival bringing together like-minded chefs passionate about Cambodia’s traditional street food and countryside flavors. He carries this passion into Spoons, bringing these lesser known Cambodian dishes to the dining table. EGBOK alumni have also had a hands-on role in inspiring the creations on our drinks menu, meaning our food is truly a reflection of our staff and students culinary heritage.
We use only the freshest local ingredients, helping to support local food suppliers and farmers. We also showcase the great products being produced right here in Cambodia. Our coffee comes from Feel Good Coffee in Phnom Penh, and are some of the best beans you’ll taste. Our cocktails feature a special blend of infused Cambodian rice wine custom made for EGBOK, prepared right down the road from us at Sombai.
Our Community Partners
If you look around Spoons café, nearly all of our design elements and merchandise have been made especially for Spoons by some of the fantastic social enterprises in Siem Reap. Plus we are an active participant in Siem Reap’s green initiatives including the Re-fill Not Landfill Initiative—an effort to cut down on the 4.6 million tourism-related plastic water bottles discarded monthly in Siem Reap. Come buy your Spoons bottle today and refill it at any of the participating locations around town! While you are here check out all the little details we think make us and our partners so special:
- Scrap Siem Reap has crafted beautiful place mats and seat cushions using recycled scrap materials from the local textile industry.
- Life and Hope Association makes our Spoons uniforms, featuring the traditional Cambodian Krama cloth. The NGO runs several projects in the community to provide training and educational opportunities to underprivileged youth and women.
- The Iron Workshop designed our unique metal bar front and entrance sign. The social enterprise trains young Cambodians in the craft of welding, and is just one of the community developments projects run in Siem Reap by the Italian NGO Una Goccia per il Mondo.
- Cambodia Doodle Club has hand sketched the mesmerizing mural adorning the wall behind the Spoons Bar.
- Bambusa Global Ventures in addition to providing the building materials have used their signature bamboo to manufacture our table and the many other bamboo design elements around the café. You can buy some for yourself such as our candle holders and napkin rings.
- Kumae takes the unused part of the banana tree—namely fibers from the stem and non-utilizable fruits—to create the beautifully rustic paper our business cards are printed on.